Ugandan ride-hailing startup, SafeBoda, is set to re-launch in Kenya via Nairobi, the capital city, in February. According to a countdown on its website as of today, January 22, 2024, the ride-hailing service will hit Nairobi roads in the next 13 days—February 4, 2024.
SafeBoda announced their comeback with a post on X on Monday: "And we said we are leaving Nairobi? Ah, mistakes are ours!" [The post was made in Swahili].
However, the startup has not yet offered any explanation for its decision to return to the country.
Three years ago, SafeBoda stopped operating in Kenya due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on transportation across the world. Our investigation at that time revealed that, in addition to the pandemic, the ride-hailing startup was discontinuing its operations due to intense competition from established startups such as Juuboda, Boltboda, and uberBODA.
It remains uncertain whether the startup has renewed its licence with Kenya's transport regulator, the National Transport and Safety Authority, to resume operations. SafeBoda might still experience some bumps on its return, especially with the new regulations and competition from rivals who have onboarded some of its previous riders—about 4000 of them.
Following its departure from Kenya, SafeBoda halted operations in Nigeria in 2022 to refocus on its main market, Uganda. In Uganda, the startup introduced various initiatives including electric bikes, trip insurance, and SafeCar, its car-hailing service.
The ride-hailing startup will likely launch some of these products in Kenya as well.
This is a developing story